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What Property Gets Divided in a Florida Divorce?
When you woke up on the morning of your wedding day, you owned some things: a car, some clothes, a bank account, maybe a house. All of that remains your separate property during the marriage and does not get divided during a Florida divorce. That is, unless you do something to make it marital property (as opposed to your individual non-marital property). One interesting example of this is that the engagement ring, typically owned by the bride-to-be before the wedding day, is her non-marital property while the wedding rings exchanged at the alter are marital.
Everything that each of you earns during the marriage, or buys with money earned during the marriage, is marital. It is just as if both of your names are on each paycheck. It is just as if you both went to work together and jointly did the work to earn the check.
On the flip side, every debt that is incurred by either of you during the marriage is marital. Even if one spouse is a big spender on clothes or fishing gear, for example, and runs up big credit card bills, those bills are marital and will be divided in a Florida divorce.
Long ago, retirement accounts were not divided in a Florida divorce. Now, the portion of any retirement account which is earned during the marriage will be considered marital property and divided.
With some exceptions, all of that marital property and marital debt gets divided 50/50.
The time period for determining if something was earned or if a debt was incurred "during the marriage" is defined as starting on the day you get married and ending on the date one spouse, for example, goes out and finds the best divorce lawyer in Florida and files in court a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. So once a person with a larger income than the other spouse makes the decision that the marriage should be ended, that person typically starts the divorce process as soon as possible to avoid having to share 50/50 any more of that large income.
Bottom Line: As a general rule, all of the money you earn during the marriage and all of the debt you incur is marital property to be divided in a Florida divorce.
(copyright Stann Givens 2009)
Alimony in Florida can be requested when one spouse needs financial assistance. In order to qualify for alimony, the requesting spouse must prove need and that the paying spouse is financially able to make the payments. Alimony is typically a set amount which is paid monthly for a set period of time or until certain circumstances occur, such as remarriage. Alimony is not as common as one may think. The Florida divorce court can award temporary alimony until the final divorce hearing is held. Then, at the final divorce hearing, the court can order permanent alimony if it is requested and necessary.
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